i made pesto last weekend, for a fourth of july bbq. i spotted garlic scapes and fresh basil at the farmers market earlier that morning and knew it had to be made into a fragrant something-or-other. boy, was i right.
the garlic scapes, raw, were so strong and spicy that they made my throat run. i know that cooking them – as you would, say, an onion – would tone it down, but this pesto means business. it’s pungent and sharp and doesn’t back down. ingredients were basic:
- 2 large bunches garlic scapes (about 5 cups, packed and roughly chopped)
- 1 large bunch basil (this was about 3 cups, lightly packed and roughly torn)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup parmesan
- 2 tbsp miso paste (i used this instead of salt)
- black pepper
and give it a whir until a loose paste forms, adding the oil gradually through the top of your food processor. this will be thicker than a tomato sauce but not as thick as, say, hummus. i added 3 tbsps of hot, starchy pasta water to loosen things up, and it was perfect. tossed with 1 lb of rigatoni, the heat from the cooked pasta “activated” the pasta and its aromas filled my kitchen. it was insanely fresh-tasting, bitter and garlick-y. it’s not your normal pesto, and has a dry, intense heat from the raw scapes that i really didn’t anticipate.
i would imagine this would be delectable on grilled fish, carne asada, tossed with salad, or in couscous or quinoa. but with just pasta and cherry tomatoes, the pesto really stands front and center, totally unapologetic and in your face. i took it to the bbq later that afternoon, and it was completely demolished within the hour. people raved, eyes teared from the heat, no one kissed for hours. potent stuff.